THE Scottish Government is stalling in handing over the £155 million it has received via the Barnett Formula for emergency funding for councils during the Covid crisis (“Councils ordered to drain their reserves as Government delays paying up”, the Herald, May 2). It says it is “consulting” Cosla, but who knows what that means.

What is absolutely clear is that councils are in the red as never before. The Scottish Government has a deplorable track record in trousering the local government funding it gets from Westminster for its own ends. Over the last 10 years, Scottish councils have lost seven per cent of their funding despite rising demand. As a result they have drained their reserves, and now find themselves in a nightmarish situation where revenue is nosediving with people defaulting on rent and Council Tax just as demand for their services is hitting an all-time high. Unlike charities and businesses, councils cannot furlough their staff but have to bear all the costs of the lockdown themselves.

All this means that the people councils serve are not only facing more hardship than ever before but far more than they need to. We see that, for example, in the thousands of businesses who have yet to receive their emergency grants, or the countless children who lack the support and equipment to be able to benefit from home schooling.

Councils are the frontline when it comes to helping people through this crisis, and deserve much better treatment from this niggardly Government.

Linda Holt (Independent Councillor for East Neuk & Landward), Anstruther.

I THINK that Kate Forbes is right to seek proper detailed analyses of local government financial issues before releasing emergency funding. A fund of £155 million will not go far.

Already you note that Edinburgh and Highland are “claiming” £113million between them.

I realise that local authorities are doing a good job in these strange times but there are many things that are budgeted for that they are not doing too. I don’t think we should reimburse councils for lost income like lower parking charges or leisure centre fees (which probably go to tax-avoiding trusts).

Let’s see the accounts.

Allan McDougall, Neilston.

THEATRES and concert halls were amongst the first public buildings to close to the public when the lockdown was introduced and we expect to be amongst the last to re-open. Every indication of a timetable for a return to a “new normalcy” is that we will most likely find ourselves at the end of the phased process and it is equally likely that a large number valued cultural institutions will be have been lost along the way.

It is a devastating situation for so many providers of cultural activity in Scotland. However, we have no choice but to accept this situation and we wait to be told under what conditions we may be able to open again so that we can plan to provide performances and events in restricted conditions. Many theatres like the Tron have performances ready to stage this autumn while at the same time we are well aware that the delay to re-opening may be a lot longer.

I assume this principle will apply to all such places of public gathering. However, I read today that the Catholic Church in Scotland is drawing up a strategy to re-open buildings and for masses to return in the near future (“Catholic church draws up plans for parish reopenings”, The Herald, May 2). I wish the church good luck in its discussions with the Scottish Government on this issue but I am confused by the rationale. We are all buildings where the public assembles to communally participate in events. If a special dispensation is given then we should be allowed to stage theatre shows in churches after mass has ended ... at least until our own buildings can open again.

Andy Arnold, Artistic Director, Tron Theatre, Glasgow.

I AM a 24/7 live-in carer dedicated to caring for elderly and disabled people.

I am employed by an agency currently advertising on national television for staff

This week I phoned the office three times to ask for PPE to be delivered to the address where I am looking after a client with underlying health issues. On the third call I was told to come to the office to collect the items

My client and I are in isolation, as advised by the Government, with essential items delivered to the door.

Apart from the danger of leaving the house, getting to the company’s office would involve several public transport journeys with the inherent risk of contracting the virus.

Your front page today highlights the poor pay and difficulties faced by carers such as myself (“Half of Scotland’s care workers paid less than Real Living Wage”, The Herald, May 2).

It is most discouraging to be so undervalued by ones employer, nevertheless, I am taking the appropriate measures to protect my client and myself.

Name and address supplied.

Read more: Councils told to use reserves as £155m support withheld